Tuesday, July 7th, 2020

Of Love and Law : Japanese gay lawyer couple perfect role models.


Hikaru Toda’s Of Love and Life is a gentle meandering fly on-the-wall documentary on a charming couple of Japanese men who are not only a gay couple, but the first to head up their own law company.  Masafumi Yoshida and Kazayuki Minami — Fumi and Kazu together for over 13 years   are very happy attract clients on the edges of Japan’s very traditional  society backed up by some outdated laws that are particularly tough on people who refuse  conform.

Amongst their clients is an artist who is fighting obscenity charges for her vagina-theed art which are nowhere as explicit as the sex toys that Kazu buys as evidence in the sex store.  They also defended a middle-aged school teacher who has been fired for refusing to sing the National Anthem in school assemblies.

The most disarming case they had in the year that they were being filmed was them representing two clients who were born outside a nuclear family and therefore disbarred from been placed in crucial ‘koseki’ family registry.  Without this they are like undocumented aliens in the USA, unable to get a driving licence, social security, passport, and decent jobs  even though they are Japanese natives born in Japan.. Fumi and Kazu’s commitment to their case, also helps define who they are too

We see them as a disarmingly charming couple who seem to work every hour God sends.  Kazu’s mother who initially reacted badly when her son came out, now works for their Law Company.   Their  family is completed by their cat and a teenager boy who was made a ward of court and who Kazu agrees to take him home.  The later arrangement inspire the 30-something-old couple to register to be foster couples, and we learn in the final credits that have been accepted as the first gay couple in Osaka to do this.

Both men have had tough childhoods and what they have achieved is by hard work and their total commitment to each other. There is one touching scene with Kazu driving home on his own one night when he comes over full of self-doubt.  It adds a very humane touch to show that their success that we see on the outside is not always exactly what we see.

This many not be a life-shattering film and it lacks  a dramatic story line, but its real purpose is that it highlights the pair as a excellent role models for the LGBTQ Community. The film had started with  news of yet another LGBTQ kid who had teken his own life because of his fear of his sexuality.  There is still such a great need to tell kids like this that it is so OK to be gay ….and films like this can really make such a difference.

P.S. Screening at Queer East Film VIRTUal Film Fest: 
     24 July - 31 July.  Also available GooglePlay

Posted by queerguru  at  18:43

Genres:  documentary, international

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